HCPS named National School Library Program of the Year

The Henrico County Public School system this week was named an American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) 2011 National School Library Program of the Year (NSLPY) Award recipient.

Sponsored by Follett Library Resources, the NSLPY recognizes school library programs that meet the needs of the changing school and library environment and are fully integrated into the school's curriculum. Each recipient is recognized with a crystal obelisk and $10,000 for their school library program.

“Attention and advocacy are the areas that most represent this school district’s school library program,” explained Betty Marcoux, award committee chair. “Each librarian models his or her best in their school and is seen by other educators as bringing richness to what students and teachers can accomplish while learning.

“There is strong modeling among the librarians in this district, with engaging and non-threatening collaboration. They work together really well.”

Collaborative partnerships are the key to Henrico's program’s success, according to HCPS Educational Specialist in Library Services Ann M. Martin.

“Parents, central office personnel, school board members, feeder schools, and the business community are constituents that all have a stake in successful students,” Martin wrote in the HCPS application. “Our model is based on an all-inclusive approach, with students and staff at the center of the circle and each succeeding circle encompassing more of our stakeholders. When a library activity occurs, we include as many stakeholders as possible.”

Inside each of the schools, librarians are considered instructional leaders and serve on leadership, staff development and technology integration teams.

Teacher and librarian collaboration to merge content, technology and the AASL learning standards is encouraged by the school superintendent, according to Martin. A recently launched initiative, Henrico21, is designed to support effective instruction geared toward developing 21st-century learners.

School librarians partnered with instructional technology resource teachers, administrators and other school leaders to develop a rubric that focuses on the goals of student-driven inquiry, research, creativity, sharing and student growth.

“Our school librarians are a critical component of Henrico21,” wrote Dr. Patrick Russo, superintendent of schools. “Together with the staff at each school, school librarians serve as powerful leaders who are responsive to the needs of the learning community.”

HCPS is the sixth-largest school division in Virginia, with 69 schools and approximately 49,000 students. HCPS employs 82 full-time librarians, 39 full-time support staff and 34 part-time support staff.

The division and other AASL award recipients will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during ALA's 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans June 27.
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